Could Your Vitamins And Supplements Actually Kill You?

Vitamins

Photo: Nick Wheeler/Flickr

Should vitamins and supplements carry warning labels like cigarettes do? If so, then vitamin E should be the first to get slapped with a surgeon general’s warning.

When a huge study examining whether vitamin E supplements can reduce the risk of prostate cancer had to be halted prematurely in 2008, it was because the men taking vitamin E seemed to be getting no benefit from it. In fact, not only did they not benefit, they exhibited a higher risk of prostate cancer than the men taking a placebo. At the time, the 13 per cent increased risk was deemed “statistically non-significant,” meaning the extra cancers might have occurred by chance. Now, further analysis of that study, called the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT), dashes that hope: The risk is all too real, and not a statistical artifact, the SELECT team reports today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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